• The Bull’s Eye in Satan’s Target
• The Target 15 Being Hit
• Let’s Not Fail to Observe Reformation Day!
• The Reformation of Our Homes
Archery as a sport is becoming increasingly popular today. The archer uses bow and arrow to shoot at a target. In the center of the target is a small circle called the bull’s eye. Around it are concentric rings. When the archer hits the bull’s eye he makes a perfect score.
Our Christian institutions are a favorite target of the evil forces of our day. But the bull’s eye in that target is the Christian home. When Satan hits it he rejoices, for he knows that he has scored a perfect hit. The ring nearest to the bull’s eye is the Christian church and the one nearest to that is the Christian school. If any one feels that the order of the last two should be reversed, we shall not dispute with him. But we are sure all will agree that the bull’s eye in the devil’s target is the home.
The home is the unit of human society, the foundation of our entire social structure, the cornerstone of all our institutions. We learn from Scripture that it is the oldest of them all. When God established the state (Gen. 9:6) the family was already an ancient institution. It is older than the church, which could not originate till after the Fall. The home is even older than the Sabbath which God instituted on the seventh day of the week of creation. The first home was established on the sixth day of that week when God created man male and female (Genesis 1:27). According to this verse Eve as well as Adam was created on the sixth day of the creation week. The notion of some that Adam lived the life of a bachelor for some time till he experienced a feeling of acute loneliness finds no support in Scripture.
The home is not only the oldest of all our institutions; it is also the seedplot of them all. All the fundamental relations among men have their original in the family: the relations of friendship, partnership, and representation; the relations also of teacher and pupil, ruler and subject, master and servant, employer and employee, producer and consumer, nurse and patient. If those relations are perverted in the home, where they exist in their Simplest and most natural form, the very fountainhead of our social life is polluted.
The home is the place where human beings must learn at an early age to practice those virtues without which there is no soundness in the fabric of our social life. Those virtues are the cement that must hold all our institutions together. We have in mind such virtues as obedience, truthfulness, faithfulness, patience, self-denial, kindness, love, frugality, and many others. These must be learned. in those tender years when the child’s training is still entirely the responsibility of its parents. The most impressionable years of a child’s life are already past when it enters the kindergarten. In those earliest years its attitudes toward others is already determined to a considerable extent; its character has already begun to take on a certain mold or form. Schools cannot do a great deal for the child that has been thoroughly spoiled at home.
Even our spiritual leaders are largely what the homes from which they come have made of them. The training of our Christian school teachers and our ministers began at their mothers’ knees. There they received impressions more lasting than any received later in the grade school, the high school, the college, or the seminary. If there was a serious defect in their home training their adult life and their professional career will show it, in spite of all the schooling of subsequent years.
As the home goes, so the school, the church, and the nation will go.
THE TARGET IS BEING HIT
Many of the circumstances and forces of modern life, some of them beyond our control, have exposed the home to gigantic assaults by the devil. It would seem as if all the forces of modem life are conspiring to destroy it. The Church has always been the object of Satan’s attacks but the home seemed to be almost beyond his reach. It was not easy to hit this bull’s eye in his target of Christendom’s institutional strongholds. In Christian lands at least, the family lay entrenched behind some of the deepest human instincts, as for example the love of one man for one woman, the love of women for children. But one trench after the other’ has been taken and now Satan is scoring repeated hits as he bombards the home. He has found the range of our most ancient and basic institution.
The home is the last institution that falls in a decaying nation; but when the home degenerates the nation is doomed. “For 520 years divorces had been unknown in Roman society, but in Seneca’s time it was said: ‘Our women marry in order to be divorced and they sue for divorce in order to marry’” (Vollmer). Rome fell when its homes fell. By the same sign, our so-called Christian nations today are on the road to ruin. The home is the foundation of our national life. “If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?”
Our homes today are being undermined by divorce, parental delinquency, juvenile lawlessness, hasty marriages, mixed marriages, unbelieving theories about the family, the denial of parental authority, progressive education, lack of religion in the schools, modem industrialism as a result of which fathers spend very little time at home, and modern inventions in consequence of which family life is reduced to a minimum. The spirit of individualism has invaded our homes and disrupted family ties. Modern secularism has done untold damage to family life. There are thousands of Christian homes today in which practically nothing can be seen or is done that makes them distinctively Christian. The magazines on the table, the music on the piano, the pictures on the wall, the programs on radio or television—all is non-religious.
Worse than all the rest is the gradual disappearance of the family altar. Few Christian homes remain in which a Bible passage is read at every meaL Apparently we no longer believe that the soul needs frequent nourishment as well as the body. In this matter too modern life is against us. Many fathers eat with their families only once a day. “Eating out” has become a popular custom. “Treat Yourself; Eat Out More Often” is the sign we saw displayed on a food delivery truck a few days ago. We do not condemn the practice. Ie can be a real boon to our busy mothers to be relieved of the duty to prepare a meal once a week or so. But the fact remains that it is just one more circumstance in our modern world which curtails family worship. Satan scores a tremendous hit when he succeeds in breaking down a family altar.
Family religion includes more than family worship. When fathers sulk and mothers nag, a prayer and the reading of a Bible passage cannot make up for the lack of real religion in the home. If we are Christians, Christ is the King of our homes as well as our hearts. His royal law of love must determine the relationships between husbands and wives, parents and children, brothers and sisters. But surely, if family worship is forgotten or reduced to a mere formality, we cannot expect much of the home in the way of family religion.
The first step on the way to the preservation of the Christian character of our homes is the keen realization that they are in grave jeopardy. We must see the hand of Satan in all the forces that are undermining our Christian families. But this does not mean that we may absolve ourselves of all blame for our neglect of spiritual exercises as a family and for our failure to manifest the Spirit of Christ in our attitudes toward one another. The sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God, will put the evil one to flight, if we use it manfully.
Let us work and fight for the spiritual preservation of our homes.
LET’S NOT FAIL TO OBSERVE REFORMATION DAY!
The 31st day of this month is Reformation Day.
Will special attention be given this day in our churches and homes of Reformed persuasion?
The world does not fail to plan its sickening Halloween parties; why should we Christians forget to observe Reformation Day?
Half a century ago our Reformed churches paid very little attention to the occasion. In some of them special mention was made of the great Reformation of the sixteenth century, but that was all
There came a turn for the better when our societies responded to the challenge in our church papers to sponsor special Reformation Day meetings and programs. If we mistake not, in the last few years such celebrations have decreased in number.
We appeal to those in charge of our men’s organizations (and why not include the women’s societies?) to arrange for such meetings and make them as interesting as possible.
The teachers in our Christian schools have given due attention to Reformation Day in story, song, and possibly pageant. We trust they will continue this fine custom.
THE REFORMATION OF OUR HOMES
More important than Reformation Day celebrations is the continuance of the reformation of our churches, homes, and Christian institutions.
“A truly Reformed Church must always be reforming” is a slogan we should never forget.
It is not less true of our Reformed homes that their purification and reformation must never cease.
By Reformed homes we mean those built on the precious covenant doctrine. Religion is a family affair not less than the concern of the individual and the church.
Calvin says somewhere that every home should be a temple to the Most High God. This and more than this is implied in the words of Paul to the Philippi an jailer: “Believe on the Lord Jesus, and thou shalt be saved, thou and thy house.” How significant that when this text is quoted, the last four words are often omitted!
Christ is the Lord of our homes as well as our hearts. The whole of our family life must be subservient to his service and honor. This conviction should be a strong incentive, not only to family worship and family religion but also to the constant reformation and spiritual improvement of our homes.
Who will say that such a constant reformation and purification of our homes is a superfluous thing? Unless we undertake it, they will deteriorate spiritually not less than Jacob’s home. The result in his case was that idolatry crept in so that a divine command for spiritual housecleaning was necessary and the patriarch had to bury beneath the oak at Shechem the idols and the trappings of idolatry that had accumulated in his house.
Dare we say that our homes need no purging? What about our radio and television programs? What about the music on our pianos? Are there sexy magazines in our living rooms? Have we made idols of our furniture, our houses, our bank accounts, our cars? Are we in this day of lush prosperity unduly attached to material things? Do we repent of this and firmly resolve to give first thought to our spiritual needs?
This means, first of all, to restore our family altars if they have been crumbling. Oh, those cold and formal prayers, that formal reading of a Bible passage just for the sake of satisfying our conscience! Never adding a comment, never repeating a verse that impresses us, never discussing a point of special practical interest, never engaging in conversation about the things of God or the happenings in church and kingdom! Is that family worship?
What about our religious reading? Do we belong to that growing number of “Christian” homes that devour the newspaper and some of the popular magazines but hardly glance at a religious periodical. Shame on us if we who profess to be citizens of a heavenly kingdom pay little or no attention to movements and happenings in that kingdom as reported by the religious press!
Yes, our homes need frequent purgings also in the attitudes that prevail among the members. Arc we unfailingly kind to those we love best? Do we practice Christian forbearance? Do we confess our faults? Do we seek to control our tempers and tongues?
Do we pray in secret, as Jesus told us to pray? Do we seek daily communion with our God and our Savior and pray daily for the guidance of his Spirit? Do we seek him first, as individuals and as families, when sickness and trials darken our homes?
Constant reformation of our churches and our homes is necessary because of the almost irresistible downward trend that threatens to corrupt them.
Let us raise up a banner against our spiritual enemies who seek to undermine our personal religious life and our religious institutions. Let each of us repair the walls of the Lord’s city over against his own house.